Seattle Seahawks

John McGrath: One constant for the Hawks: a showdown with Panthers

Seattle’s Russell Wilson runs the ball against Carolina. On Dec. 4, the teams will meet for the seventh time in five years.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson runs the ball against Carolina. On Dec. 4, the teams will meet for the seventh time in five years. The Associated Press

Not only did we know the Seahawks’ next 16 regular-season opponents, we knew which opponents would visit CenturyLink Field and which of their opponents would be at home.

But NFL’s revelation Thursday of its 2016 schedule provided clearance for us to ponder the not-so-immediate future. There’s something about an official itinerary, with specific dates and kickoff times, that gives a football season the substance of reality.

At the risk of getting ahead of things, it seems to me the Seahawks are the beneficiaries of a schedule that will allow them to pad their early-season record with victories before a tough stretch preceding the winter holidays.

Let’s check it out:

Sept. 11, 1:05 p.m., Miami Dolphins at Seahawks: Although the Pete Carroll Era in Seattle dates back to 2010, its unofficial beginning can be traced to a 24-21 defeat at Miami on Nov. 25, 2012. The Hawks rallied to win their last five regular-season games and, aside from an occasional glance at the most spectacular of Super Bowl debacles, they haven’t looked back.

Sept. 18, 1:05 p.m., Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams: Home opener for relocated Rams will find all eyes on Carroll, whose USC teams were the sole occupants of L.A. Memorial Coliseum during the 1990s.

Sept. 25, 1:05 p.m., San Francisco 49ers at Seahawks: A very cool rivalry briefly lost its edge when coach Jim Harbaugh left the Niners to resurrect Michigan as a national powerhouse, but Chip Kelly is capable of getting on the nerves of anybody not named Pope Francis.

Oct. 2, 10 a.m., Seahawks at New York Jets: No worries about the early-hour kickoff time on the East Coast, as returning to MetLife Stadium will rekindle memories of the finest hour in Seahawks franchise history.

Oct. 16, 1:25 p.m., Atlanta Falcons at Seahawks: Dan Quinn returns to Seattle, where he was identified as the rising-star defensive coordinator who’d supervise the purging of an aging Falcons’ team that regressed from Super Bowl contenders in 2012 to punching bags in 2013. Quinn looked like a revelation through first half of last season, but finishing 8-8 against a soft schedule has put the hot shot on a hot seat.

Oct. 23, 5:30 p.m., Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals: The first prime-time game on the schedule will find the retractable roof closed, because home teams in the NFL almost always conclude noise to be a more precious commodity than fresh air.

Oct. 30, 10 a.m., Seahawks at New Orleans Saints: Barring any rehab setbacks related to the season-ending knee injury Jimmy Graham suffered in last November, the tight end should be available to face his former team.

Nov. 7, 5:30 p.m., Buffalo Bills at Seahawks: Buffalo owner Terry Pegula has given head coach Rex Ryan an ultimatum: Either break the NFL’s longest playoff drought — the Bills haven’t qualified for the postseason since 1999 — or be prepared to shuffle off from Buffalo.

Nov. 13, Seahawks at New England Patriots, 5:30 p.m.: When the Hawks take on the Pats in what shapes up as a Sunday Night Football blockbuster, a mere 623 days will have gone by since the outcome of Super Bowl 49 turned inside the New England 1-yard line.

Nov. 20, 1:25 p.m., Philadelphia Eagles at Seahawks: Although the Hawks’ early bye date, five weeks into the season, is not ideal, it will be tempered by the fact the Eagles will offer the equivalent of a second bye date.

Nov. 27, 1:05 p.m., Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Hawks have faced the Bucs only 12 times since entering the league with them as 1976 expansion partners. Conditioning could be an issue in a thick-humidity climate, but the visitors catch a break with the late-afternoon start in late November.

Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m., Carolina Panthers at Seahawks: Some unfinished business awaits the Hawks against Carolina, which gave up 24 consecutive points to them in second half of doomed-from-the-opening-kickoff playoff game on Jan. 17. This will be the seventh time the opponents have collided in five years.

Dec. 11, 1:30 p.m., Seahawks at Green Bay: Easy to forget that the Hawks still were a Packers nemesis last year before allowing three scoring drives during the final 18 minutes and 12 seconds. Weather prediction: It’ll be cold and there could be snowflakes, but compared with the Seahawks’ most recent trip to the Midwest — last season’s playoff game against Minnesota — Lambeau Field will seem like the kind of destination Sports Illustrated seeks out for its annual swimsuit-edition photo shoot.

Dec. 15, 5:30 p.m., Los Angeles Rams at Seahawks: Short week with Thursday night date looming after long road trip to Green Bay. Will presumptive No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff be taking snaps as the Rams starting quarterback?

Dec. 24, 1:25 p.m., Arizona Cardinals at Seahawks: Cards head coach Bruce Arians sees an attack from MARS — Mothers Against Rough Sports — as the one threat capable of dethroning the NFL as America’s most popular spectator sport. Thanks to a nine-day layoff, the Hawks will be rough and ready for a pivotal NFC West matchup.

Jan. 1, 1:25 p.m., Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: The first day of 2017 should give Carroll a chance to rest his starters, in anticipation of still another rematch with the Carolina Panthers.

Some business is never finished.

Seahawks schedule

Sept. 11: Miami Dolphins, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 7

Sept. 18: at Los Angeles Rams, 1:05 p.m.,

Ch. 13

Sept. 25: San Francisco 49ers, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13

Oct. 2: at New York Jets, 10:05 a.m. Ch. 13

BYE WEEK

Oct. 16: Atlanta Falcons, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13

Oct. 23: at Arizona Cardinals, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 5

Oct. 30: at New Orleans Saints, 10 a.m., Ch. 13

Nov. 7 (Monday): Buffalo Bills, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

Nov. 13: at New England Patriots, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 5

Nov. 20: Philadelphia Eagles, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 7

Nov. 27: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13

Dec. 4: Carolina Panthers, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 5

Dec. 11: at Green Bay Packers, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13

Dec. 15 (Thursday): Los Angeles Rams,

5:25 p.m., Ch. 5, NFL Network, Twitter

Dec. 24 (Saturday): Arizona Cardinals,

1:25 p.m., Ch. 13

Jan. 1: at San Francisco 49ers, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13

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